By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he would like to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2024.
This, he however said, requires constitutional amendment, funds from partners and international observers.
The president admitted that the issue of elections in Ukraine could “split the support of the United States of America”, and the argument put forward is that the US held elections even during the war.
However, he said holding elections during wartime is prohibited by law in Ukraine.
“The logic is that if you are protecting democracy, then you have to think about this protection even during times of war. Elections are one of the protections. But there is a reason why elections are prohibited by law during wartime – it is very difficult to hold them.
“My answer is very simple and Lindsey and I came up with (it) very quickly – he was very satisfied.
“Assuming our parliamentarians are ready, then we need changes to the legislation, to the Electoral Code, to do it quickly – this is step number one.
“Let’s assume, I told him, you are ready to give me 5 billion, because I can’t just take 5 billion from the budget, as it seems to me that this is the amount needed to hold elections in normal times, and in wartime, I don’t know what the amount would be – if the United States of America together with Europe gives us financial support [then Ukraine will hold elections
“I’m sorry, I’m not asking for anything. I will not hold elections on credit. I will not take money from what we’re spending on weapons and allocate it to elections, either. This is provided for by law. But if you give me this financial support and if the parliamentarians understand that we need to do this, then let’s change the legislation quickly.
“And most importantly, let’s take risks together. But how? Observers must be in the trenches. I told him: you and I must send observers to the front line so that we have legitimate elections for ourselves and the whole world. And that’s absolutely fair.”
The President added that the West, primarily Europe, will have to open the opportunity for 7 million Ukrainian refugees to vote because Ukraine does not have such infrastructure capabilities.
Zelesnkyy says that no one has yet shown him how to organise elections for military personnel on the front lines and for refugees abroad.
“There is a way out. I’m ready for it. I’m talking about it publicly now, I told him (Graham) that I have no secrets.”
The country is currently fighting the invasion of its territory by Russia, a war that started since February last year with several casualties recorded on both sides.
Moscow has said the war in Ukraine is a special military operations. Ukraine has enjoyed the backing of EU and the United States in withstanding Russian artillery